Vitamin D Deficiency During Development Permanently Alters Liver Cell Composition and Function

Kassidy Lundy, John F. Greally, Grace Essilfie-Bondzie, Josephine B. Olivier, Reanna Doña-Termine, John M. Greally, Masako Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, plays a critical role in calcium homeostasis, the immune system, and normal development. Many epidemiological cohort studies globally have found high prevalence rates of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, recognized as an important health issue that needs to be solved. In particular, reproductive age and pregnant women low in vitamin D status may confer risks of diseases like obesity on their offspring. While observational studies have suggested associations between prenatal vitamin D deficiency and metabolic phenotypes in offspring, not yet determined is whether prenatal vitamin D deficiency permanently alters the development of the liver, a major metabolic organ. We tested the histopathology and the transcriptomic profiles of livers from male C57BL/6J mice exposed to prenatal vitamin D deficiency through a maternal dietary intervention model. We found that prenatal vitamin D deficiency increases the prevalence of histopathological changes in the liver, and alters its gene expression profile. Cell subtype proportion analysis showed that the liver of prenatal vitamin D deficiency alters non-parenchymal cells of the liver, specifically macrophages, a subset of endothelial cells, and dendritic cells. Our results indicate the long-term memory of prenatal vitamin D deficiency exposure in the adult liver, a potential contributor to offspring health risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number860286
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
StatePublished - May 12 2022


  • DOHaD (developmental origins of health and disease)
  • liver
  • prenatal environment
  • transcriptional alterations
  • vitamin D deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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